The First Time News Was Fit To Print, III

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I'm back with the third installment of our series exploring the first time The New York Times mentioned a particular subject. See the previous volumes here and here.

John F. Kennedy
February 24, 1938*

Joseph P. Kennedy, new United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James, sailed for his post yesterday....His five daughters and three of his four sons were at the pier to wish him bon voyage. John F. Kennedy, who is in Harvard, had caught cold while training for the swimming team and was not present.

Harry Potter
December 17, 1998

s_Stone.jpgThis season's most popular piece of children's literature so far is Jamie Lee Curtis's "Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day," a book that many critics said had a title so precisely accurate that it would not make many school libraries. The other books on the fiction best-seller list are "The Night Before Christmas" (Putnam) by Clement C. Moore and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (Scholastic) by J. K. Rowling, certainly closer to belles lettres than Ms. Curtis's work.

Saddam, Smurfs, microwaves, and more all after the jump!

Saddam Hussein
December 25, 1971

saddam-and-hassan.jpgAhmed Hassal al-Bakr, the 57-year-old ailing President of Iraq, is nominal party chief, but it is generally believed that the strongman of the regime is Saddam Hussein Takriti, the young, ambitious vice chairman of the ruling Revolutionary Command Council and assistant secretary general of the Baath party. "Baath fills a vacuum in the Arab world; it offers the Arab left an alternative to Communism," is the opinion of a seasoned Arab diplomat. The Iraqi regime in fact considers itself an island of Islamic progressivism surrounded by the conservative royalist regimes of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf and the military regime in Syria.

The Smurfs
October 14, 1981

Smurf1.gif''Morning television offered a curious lineup today,'' writes Eugene Tonkonogy of Manhattan. Here is the listing: MAGILLA GORILLA GROOVIE GOOLIES KWICKY KOALA TROLLKINS SMURFS ''Hard to make a choice!'' says Mr. Tonkonogy. [From 'Metropolitan Diary']

December 13, 1981

smurftoy.jpgThey're two inches tall and very German. They're blue and they live deep in the forest. In fantasy, there are only a hundred of them. But they've sold in the millions. They're Smurfs - in Europe, Schlumpfen - and according to Wallace Berrie & Company, which distributes the product in America, 30 million have been sold here since the first one crossed the Atlantic in 1979. This year domestic sales will total about $20 million.

The Internet
November 5, 1988

1988computer.jpgThe virus was detected in part because a design error led it to create many copies rather than a single copy on each machine it attacked. Computer researchers said the copies were like echoes bouncing back and forth off the walls of canyons. The program eventually affected as many as 6,000 computers, or 10 percent of the systems linked through an international group of computer communications networks, the Internet.

Microwave Oven
March 31, 1949

earlymicrowave.jpgThough the electronic range that cuts cooking time from hours to minutes will not be possible for home kitchens for several years, one of it chief drawbacks is being overcome....The new combination of "regular" electricity with microwave energy will enable products to brown and to crust as well as cook through. One will bake bread in a matter of minutes without any sacrifice of the delicious crisp surface. incidentally, with this new oven it will be possible to use metal pans, something that cannot be done with other similar appliances, in which glass and paper utensils are used.

May 5, 1957

microwave.jpgThe electronic range, despite its magic appeal to homemakers, is still a luxury item. Since 1954, when the first practical microwave oven was offered on the market by Raytheon, about 2,500 of these appliances have found their way into American homes. But the high price tag still keeps the range out of most kitchens. Today the average cost of an electronic range runs about $1,200. One model, combined with a standard oven below it, is priced at $1,390.

* JFK was previously mentioned several times, including an August 1936 recap of Westhampton sailing results. He finished last if you don't count Patrick O'Gorman, who didn't finish at all. His cold was, to me, far more interesting. Plus I'd transcribed that paragraph before realizing it wasn't the first mention of JFK. So it stays. With an asterisk.


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July 24, 2007 - 1:30am
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